newsletter ISSUE 3 - September 2009

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We need investment in training but it must be the right kind

Patrycja, what were the new findings to emerge from your project? Patrycja Lipinska: Well, our research revealed that the newer Member States experienced a boom in cost-sharing mechanisms for financing training in two distinct periods: first during the economic transformation, when there was a largescale re-evaluation of the education and training system, and then in a second period around the accession. Looking at them now, it turns out that all the newer Member States including Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Romania - have many costsharing schemes, some of them rather well-developed, which we didnt really know much about before undertaking this research.

The second finding is that these cost-sharing mechanisms have supported increasing private investment and in turn, participation in training. But I should point out that the effectiveness and efficiency of these approaches varies considerably. Clearly, there is a lot of room for improvement, for instance, in raising awareness of the different funding sources and mechanisms, providing better guidance... We also need to devise monitoring arrangements. I should add that our analysis of the relation between financing mechanisms and private investment is largely qualitative because of the lack of statistical data, which didnt allow us to conduct a proper quantitative analysis. Information from secondary sources is also scarce. So we collected information through surveys of national experts. To examine the relation between private investment and participation in training we applied a regression analysis and used Eurostat data. Did you discover forms of financing that were not already well-known in the rest of Europe? Patrycja Lipinska: Mostly, these countries are implementing and adapting the schemes that were present in the older Member States, such as grants, training funds and tax incentives. Vouchers, which are becoming popular in the older Member States, are still underdeveloped in the newer EU entrants, as are loans and savings schemes. But the most popular measure is to apply regulations that secure either the benefits of investment in training (payback clauses) or equitable access to training (training leave). Peter, youve worked on several forms of non-public and semi-public funding in Europe, such as sectoral training funds and individual learning accounts. Which would you say reaches a greater range of workers? Peter Szovics: Its clear that the sectoral training funds at least try to be the most equitable. They may choose to focus on

target groups, like the low-skilled or disadvantaged workers, or migrants, or people who lack specific skills. Generally, they tend to be more tailored to specific needs. Sectoral funds may also provide guidance or even training courses. Public funding of training, by comparison, tends to be more general, more focused on generic skills and employability. What about the topic of your conference this month, tax incentives? How do they perform on equity and efficiency? Peter Szovics: Lets start with what is good about tax incentives: theyre simple. Unlike, say, grants or subsidies, theyre easy to administer, at least for the companies, compared to grants and subsidies. They also make it possible to target skill gaps. In some countries, like France, its clear that apprenticeships have also increased thanks to tax incentives. Tax incentives support and encourage training in various ways by providing allowances, credits, deferrals, relief and exemptions. But apart from the fact they of course represent a loss of public revenue, the schemes are usually not explicitly connected to education and training policy they focus on employers rather than employees and as such are part of income tax or corporate tax law. We have also found that tax incentives do not advance equity. They tend to support highly-qualified or more educated employees. Large companies use them more than small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Patrycja Lipinska: Equity is not just an issue for tax incentives but for all financial mechanisms. One of our studys main recommendations is that countries, which have focused so far on efficiency, should now pay more attention to equal opportunity criteria. One way to do this is to carefully define eligibility requirements. There are already many examples of this in several countries for instance, Hungary offers grants specifically to older workers who need to update their skills, the Czech Republic has special tax incentives for disabled people, the national training fund in Cyprus targets women returning to the workforce, and Polish sectoral funds target workers who have been made redundant. Is the issue of equity related to company size? Smaller companies tend to train their employees less than larger firms should there be an effort to target smaller companies? Peter Szovics: Not necessarily. Let me give an example: in Austria, companies that declare a profit can deduct the entire cost of training and an extra virtual expense of 20 %. But if you havent made a profit which can happen, in small companies and start-ups especially - there is a special arrangement called a tax credit which gives 6% of the training cost back. The point is to target incentives correctly, to provide options rather than a blanket measure. One-size-fits-all is not going to work. Patrycja Lipinska: Anyway, its certainly not enough to target SMEs, you should also pay attention to those who are lowerskilled within all companies, thats the group that is getting the least training right now. Why do you think there needs to be a mix of public and private funding for vocational education and training? Peter Szovics: The reason why the State gets into this business in the first place is to solve market imperfections, to allocate the money it collects in the best possible way. So its not surprising that in all education, at least 75% of finance is public. The percentage of cost-sharing depends on how the training system is structured and on the level of education. There is more and more private funding at the tertiary level. But its worth noting that the countries with the highest increase in private spending also show the highest growth in public funding. Now countries are ranked according to public expenditure as a percentage of GDP usually around 5% - or as a proportion of state budget, around 10%. But this will not give you the whole picture. You must calculate expenditure on each student to see what is really being spent. If you look at these amounts, expenditure tends to rise with the level of education. And vocational education and training is more expensive than general education. Patrycja Lipinska: For lifelong learning, its clear that no state budget will be able to afford it. So we know that to ensure upskilling we need to attract additional money - and this must come from the private sector. This is why cost-sharing is high on the policy agenda. Patrycja, what do you consider the most important issue for your upcoming conference? Patrycja Lipinska: Two main issues: one is that we need more evaluation. Monitoring and evaluation is weak in many newer Member States. Even the opinions of individual experts and practitioners are not always available at the international level. This means we dont learn enough about how well other countries policies are working, and whether they lead to an overall increase in investment and participation in training. We also need to know whether the mechanisms are affected by the current crisis whether they are maintained, whether effectiveness or operation has altered, whether there are any negative trends and what the country intends to remedy them. Peter, what would you like your conference to accomplish? Peter Szovics: We want to look at how research can contribute to the field of incentives and how other mechanisms, like loans and subsidies, can be connected to tax incentives. Thats the crucial issue in funding: how the various mechanisms can support each other. Most of the countries try to use a mix of approaches; the question is to find the optimum mix, which is not going to be the same in each country. This will also involved connecting education and training policies with taxation policies. Here there is also an important role of the State. We mentioned generic skills well, the State is more likely to ensure that people get generic and transferable skills, which will protect them from unemployment. Companies are more interested in teaching specific skills. There is a risk that with rising unemployment, they will have less of an incentive to invest in their

workers training. Patrycja Lipinska: In our analysis, we saw that public stimulus is central to introducing, developing or maintaining costsharing arrangements. Increasing public spending by which we mean increasing spending as a proportion of GDP-allowed countries to experiment with various cost-sharing approaches, and encouraged social partners to get more involved. But in the current economic crisis there is a danger that public finances will get squeezed and there will be less spending on education and training. Some schemes could get abandoned, which means that private investment could also go down Peter Szovics: One factor we should pay attention to is that the public sector usually works on the basis of triennial plans, so the shifts in financing that weve seen so far are minor. But in the private sector its immediately more visible the easiest way for companies to cut cost is to make cuts in training. Perhaps we will also see public spending cuts, as public debt rises. But of course if we want to have high-skilled people we will need to at least maintain our current public expenditure on education and training. You know, not all researchers agree that more spending on education is an automatic indication of progress far from it. Some say the relationship between spending and student performance is weak or even non-existent. These researchers are, looking at how efficiently resources are used in education - for instance, how increased spending affects PISA results. Of course these projects do not cover continuing training. The adult education survey could be the first to undertake this. But you need years and even decades, really, for this kind of research to bear fruit, considering how much time you may need to train for specific occupations. Patrycja Lipinska: Its perhaps more accurate to say that the two things should go hand in hand: we should not just increase funding, but also pay attention to efficient allocation and equitable distribution. As a society we should avoid the temptation of reducing investments in people. We should just try to make sure that they are the right investments.

Interview: Ioanna Nezi

News from Cedefop

Coming to grips with the changing nature of qualifications
A recent series of Cedefop publications - as well as the Agora conference on qualifications of October 5-6 - have taken on the subject of how new economic and social realities, technological developments and research on the science of learning are changin The publications are part of a string of Cedefop comparative studies, analyses and activities on various aspects of qualifications and qualifications systems, such as the shift to learning outcomes, the changing role of qualifications, curricular implications of the learning outcomes approach, the relationships between credit transfer and qualifications frameworks, etc. The significance of qualifications Qualifications are diplomas, certificates and titles allowing holders access to further education and professional activity. Their purpose is to cover the needs of individuals for employment and of enterprises for skilled personnel. To do so, they must accurately reflect the requirements of each profession as these change over time, and be clearly understood across the single labour market of the EU. The question explored in these publications, as in the conference, is: How can national and European policy-makers ensure that this is indeed the case? And how can Europes citizens benefit? Today, the national and European frameworks which govern qualifications are increasingly focused on linking general, vocational and higher education, and on incorporating both formal systems of education and training and other forms of learning. Learning outcomes what the learner knows and can do, rather than in which institution or for how long she studied are becoming the cornerstone of many qualification systems. This has repercussions for both policy-makers and individuals. For policy-makers, it means that components of the education and training systems can no longer be treated as separate entities, but must be part of a lifelong learning strategy. For individuals, it means putting all their learning to use and demonstrating that they possess the required knowledge and skills.

A conference to bring together policy-makers and researchers The Agora conference which is to take place in Thessaloniki on 5-6 October, Qualifications for lifelong learning and employability, will build upon Cedefops ongoing research and provide an opportunity to reflect on how its findings might influence future policy and research priorities. The Agora will examine several aspects of how qualifications are changing: whether qualifications now better reflect the changing demands and realities of the labour market; to what extent these changes

affect all European countries; and what their implications are for future policy cooperation in education and training. The conference discussions will be led by Cedefop experts, who have long taken a leading role in exploring and analysing the issue of qualifications. A full account of the conference outcomes will be included in next months Cedefop News.

Greek MEPs stress importance of lifelong learning

On 5 September, the first day of the Thessaloniki International Fair the citys biggest economic and commercial event six newly-elected Members of the European Parliament attended Cedefops annual reception in honour of Greek MEPs at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art: MEPs Rodi KratsaTsagaropoulou, Constantinos Poupakis, Marietta Giannakou, Georgios Papanikolaou (Group of the European Peoples Parties) , Chrysoula Paliadeli (Group of the progressive alliance of Socialists and Democrats) , Michail Tremopoulos (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance). Pointing out that Thessaloniki, through Cedefop, has become the vocational training capital of Europe, Aviana Bulgarelli, Director of Cedefop, spoke about the importance of Cedefops recent work for Greek and European policy-makers. Our work is crucial to the economy but also to the well-being of our societies, as we point to challenges such as the danger of polarisation of skills and the growing need for key competences. Addressing the meeting, new MEPs Chrysoula Paliadeli and Marietta Giannakou the latter knows Cedefop well as a former Minister of Education spoke of the increasing importance of lifelong learning and assured Cedefop of the continuing support of the European Parliament. Ms Paliadeli particularly stressed Cedefops work on lifelong learning and how it can help the more vulnerable social groups, to improve their situation. Mr Constantinos Tsoutsoplidis of the Greek Ministry of Employment, who represents the Greek government on Cedefops Governing Board, underlined the importance of Cedefop to the Greek goverment, and said his Ministry is working actively to promote green skills, making use of Cedefops considerable work on this issue. Our host citys educational leaders were also well represented at the gathering, including several Directors of vocational schools. Aristotle University Rector Dr Anastasios Manthos and University of Macedonia Rector Dr Elias Kouskouvelis expressed their satisfaction with Cedefops outreach efforts and pledged their continuing commitment to strengthening the links between Cedefop and Thessalonikis institutes of higher learning.

New experts join Cedefop
Slava Pevec Grm is a senior expert in the Qualifications and Learning Outcomes team. Before joining Cedefop in May 2009, she had worked for ten years at the National Institute for Vocational Education and Training in Slovenia. As assistant director for development she was involved in overall development of the VET system as well as of qualifications and curriculum. A member of various European expert working groups since 2002, she was also actively involved in policy development at European level.

Fernanda Ferreira, a seconded national expert from the Portuguese Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity, joined Cedefops Research and Policy Analysis Area in July. Involved in vocational training projects since 1999, she was the National ReferNet representative for Portugal. At Cedefop she is working on the review of the Copenhagen process and continues to participate in ReferNet.

Maria Todorova comes to Cedefop from the DVV-International-Bulgarian Office, where she was Director, working in the field of vocational education and training and adult learning in the context of lifelong learning. At Cedefop she will be responsible for the TTNet (Teachers and Trainers Network) and related fields in the area of adult learning and the Study Visits Programme.

The relationship between quality assurance and VET certification in EU Member States
() This publication addresses how nine EU Member States organise certification and how this at different stages and in different ways is supported by quality assurance. Awarding a qualification requires that assessment has been carried out in a reliable way, that standards are validly applied and that those involved in the different stages are appointed in a balanced and credible way. All these steps are necessary to ensure that learners have attained the level of knowledge, skills and competence expected and required of them, regardless of when, where and how these learning outcomes were acquired.

The dynamics of qualifications: defining and renewing occupational and educational standards
() The aim of this Cedefop report is to improve our understanding of how vocational qualifications are constructed and renewed. This is done by comparing how qualifications standards are defined and redefined in the 32 countries taking part in the Education and training 2010 programme.

European guidelines for validating non-formal and informal learning
() This publication presents the conclusions of more than two years of intensive exchange of experiences - involving representatives from more than 20 European countries The main objective is to make the outcomes of this common learning process available to a wider audience to support further development of validation of non-formal and informal learning at European, national and local levels. These guidelines, while inspired by the common European principles on identifying and validating nonformal and informal learning adopted by the European Council in 2004, are not a policy framework approved by a law-making body: they are a practical tool, providing expert advice to be applied on a purely voluntary basis. Their impact relies exclusively on their relevance and ability to add value at national or local levels.

Quality in VET in European SMEs: A review of the food processing, retail and tourism sectors in Germany, Ireland and Greece
() Addressing the issues of learning in SMEs and of sectoral needs, the present Cedefop study sits at the intersection of in-company and in-sector competence building and development. It also provides a series of recommendations on how to connect the world of training to the world of SMEs and the labour market.

EU Policy

Guide for Training in SMEs
Today more than ever before, the skills, motivation and activation of employees are crucial preconditions for the sustainable success, productivity and innovation of enterprises. However, the situation of SMEs with regard to training is characterised by a paradox. On the one hand, continuous training and lifelong learning (both for workers and managerial staff) are regarded as crucial elements of competitiveness against the backdrop of globalisation. On the other hand however, statistics show that continuous training and qualification are less likely to be available to employees working in SMEs than to those in large companies. Built upon the experience of good and successful practice in SMEs throughout Europe, this guide aims to illustrate how everyday challenges and tasks in the context of training and skills development could be addressed by SMEs successfully. Therefore it has been written for key actors involved in SME training: Company owners, management, trainers, employee representatives and trade unions, social partners and professional organisations at sectoral and national level. This Guide is based on practical experience and is also accompanied by an annexe of 50 practical examples of good practices.

Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the Green Paper Migration & mobility: challenges and opportunities for EU education systems
The Commission asked the Economic and Social Committe to give its opinion on the Green Paper on Migration & mobility: challenges and opportunities for EU education systems (COM(2008) 423 final) addressing a major challenge facing education systems today, which - whilst not new - has become more serious and more widespread in recent years. The fact that there are a large number of children in schools from a migrant background living in a precarious socio-economic situation. The Commission feels that it would be valuable to consult the relevant players about education policy for children from a migrant background and to make their views known about: the policy challenge; good policy responses to this challenge; the possible role of the European Union in helping Member States address these challenges; and the future of Directive 77/486/EEC. Reference: Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the Green Paper Migration & mobility: challenges and opportunities for EU education systems. In Official Journal of the European Union, C 218, 11.9.2009, p. 69-77.

Criteria for the analysis of the compatibility of State aid for training subject
The Lisbon conclusions stressed the central role of education and training as the main instruments to increase human capital and its impact on growth, productivity and employment. Training usually has positive external effects for society as a whole since it increases the pool of skilled workers from which undertakings can draw and it improves the competitiveness of the economy and promotes a knowledge society capable of embracing a more innovative development path. This Communication sets out guidance as to the criteria the Commission will apply for the assessment of training aid measures. This guidance is intended to make the Commissions reasoning transparent and to create predictability and legal certainty. Any individual training aid, whether granted ad hoc or on the basis of a scheme, will be subject to this guidance when its grant equivalent exceeds EUR 2 million per training project. [extract]

Reference: Communication from the Commission Criteria for the analysis of the compatibility of State aid for training subject to individual notification. In Official Journal of the European Union, C 188, 11.8.2009, p. 1-5

Key data on education in Europe 2009
This seventh edition gives a comprehensive picture of the organisation and functioning of the education systems of the 31 European countries involved in the EU's Lifelong Learning programme. Containing 121 indicators, it identifies positive trends such increasing enrolment of 4-year olds in preschool education, a significant rise in the numbers of students in higher education and a general trend towards longer periods of compulsory schooling, sometimes with a requirement to obtain a basic education certificate. However, it also identifies serious challenges: demographic change means fewer children of school age in Europe but also teacher retirement on a very large scale in many countries in the near future.

Proposal for a Decision establishing a European Microfinance Facility for Employment and Social Inclusion
The main impact of the recession is on people: the top challenge for the EU today must be to prevent high levels of unemployment, to boost job creation and pave the way for economic renewal, sustainable recovery and growth. The EU reacted rapidly to the crisis through the European Economic Recovery Plan which highlighted the need to counter the effects of the crisis on jobs. This Facility shall provide Community resources to increase access to micro-credits for: (a) persons who have lost or are at risk of losing their job and want to start their own microenterprise, including self-employment; (b) disadvantaged persons, including the young, who want to start or further develop their own micro-enterprise, including self-employment; (c) micro-enterprises in the social economy which employ persons who have lost their job or which employ disadvantaged persons, including the young. The financial contribution from the Community budget for the Facility for the period from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2013 shall be EUR 100 million.

Reference: Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European Microfinance Facility for Employment and Social Inclusion (Progress Microfinance Facility){COM(2009)340 final, 2.7.2009

Future skills needs: Sectoral Level Analysis
In order to ensure sound change management, the Commission has conducted 18 sectoral studies that seek to identify emerging competences and future skills needs. By applying a common foresight scenario-based approach, these studies provide options both for anticipating and adapting to change. The reports are published as part of a series of forward-looking sector studies on New Skills and New Jobs in the frame of the project Comprehensive Sectoral Analysis of Emerging Competences and Economic Activities in the European Union. The studies are commissioned under the European Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity - PROGRESS (2007-2013) managed by the Directorate-General for Employment, social affairs and equal opportunities of the European Commission. It was established to financially support the implementation of the objectives of the European Union in the employment and social affairs area, as set out in the Social Agenda, and thereby contribute to the achievement of the Lisbon Strategy goals in these fields. The studies cover the following areas: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. Automotive sector Defence industry Textiles, apparel and leather products Printing and publishing Chemicals, pharmaceuticals, rubber and plastic products Non-metallic materials Electromechanical engineering Computer, electronic and optical products Building of ships and boats Furniture Electricity, gas, water and waste Distribution, trade Hotels, restaurants and catering Transport Post and telecommunications Financial services Health and social work Other services, maintenance and cleaning

Green paper: Promoting the learning mobility of young people
The European Commission has just published a Green Paper on "Promoting the learning mobility of young people" with the aim of opening up a debate on how best to boost the opportunities for young people in Europe to develop their knowledge and skills by going abroad. Spending a period in another country for studying, learning, work experience or volunteering is one of the fundamental ways in which young people can strengthen their future employability as well as their personal development. With this Green Paper the Commission is launching a public consultation which will be open until 15 December 2009. Responses will be gathered via an online questionnaire and by written submissions.

Reference: COM(2009) 329 final, 8.7.2009

Ireland: Toward EU-wide transparency in qualifications
Ireland has become the first EU Member State to link its national qualifications to the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (EQF), the tool which will make it easier for people to study or work in another EU country.

The EU Member States have voluntarily committed themselves to linking their national qualifications levels to the EQF by 2010. Ireland is the first country to have finalised, well before the target date, its referencing report, which explains how national qualifications levels are linked to the EQF. The EQF is a European tool that aims to increase the transparency of qualifications across Europe. As a common reference framework, it will help both individuals and employers to better understand and compare the different national qualifications systems and their levels, whether in general or higher education or vocational education and training. The EQF is based on eight reference levels which are described in terms of learning outcomes, i.e. what a learner knows, understands and is able to do, rather than focusing on the input side, such as length of study. For example, currently an enterprise in Ireland may hesitate to recruit a job applicant from Hungary because it does not understand his or her qualifications. But once the EQF is fully implemented, the Hungarian candidate's certificate would contain a reference to an EQF level, such as "EQF level 5". Since the relevant qualification authority in Ireland will have already provided such a reference to EQF levels in Ireland's qualifications in the field concerned, the Irish employers will be able to understand the Hungarian's qualification and compare it with Irish qualifications. Individuals will also benefit from the EQF by gaining better access to lifelong learning opportunities. A common European reference point will make it easier to combine what has been learned in diverse settings different countries, sectoral education systems or informal learning environments. From 2012, all new qualifications should bear a reference to the EQF, so that employers and institutions can identify a candidate's skills knowledge and skills. Cedefop has played a leading role in shaping the European Qualifications Framework since 2002-2003 when it provided the basis for establishing common reference levels. The EQF was adopted by the European Parliament and Council on 23 April 2008.

Austria: Der Nationale Qualifikationsrahmen
In sterreich wurde der Entwicklungsprozess des NQR viel versprechend gestartet. Ziel war von Anfang an, einen gemeinsamen Qualifikationsrahmen fr Lebenslanges Lernen zu schaffen, der tatschlich alle Lernbereiche umfassen soll. Wie auch in anderen Lndern ist mit diesem Vorhaben auch eine Wertediskussion von Bildung verbunden. Eine traditionelle Bildungshierarchie, im Sinne von mehr und hherer Bildung, wird dabei durch eine starke, wenn auch implizite Berufs- bzw. Beschftigungshierarchie herausgefordert. In sterreich ist man sowohl in der Wahl der Herangehensweise, wie etwa dem transparenten Konsultationsprozess, als auch der Arbeits- und Entscheidungsstruktur, etwa der Einbindung von ExpertInnen und EntscheidungstrgerInnen unterschiedlicher Bereiche, merklich um Offenheit und Mitbestimmung bemht. Darber hinaus wurde von Anfang an Forschung einbezogen und deren Bedeutung fr den Gesamtprozess stets unterstrichen. Anfang 2009 ist nun ein Sammelband erschienen, der eine Auswahl derartiger Forschungsarbeiten enthlt, die in den Jahren 2007 und 2008 entstanden sind und den bisherigen Entwicklungsprozess des NQR in sterreich begleiteten. Der Band ist in vier Abschnitte gegliedert:

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Der erste Abschnitt bietet Beitrge, die vor allem im Zuge internationaler Projekte mit sterreichischer Beteiligung entstanden sind (z.B. TransEQFrame, HE-Leo) und die u.a. versuchen, vor allem aus Entwicklungen der Nachbarlnder Lehren fr die nationale Entwicklung zu ziehen. Von den Beitrgen des zweiten Abschnitts sind Ergebnisse bzw. Zwischenergebnisse unmittelbar in den Vorschlag fr den sterreichischen NQR eingeflossen: in Bezug auf die Lernergebnisorientierung in den sterreichischen Bildungsteilsystemen, die Typologisierung von Qualifikationen und das nichtformale und informelle Lernen.

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Die Beitrge im dritten Abschnitt bedienen sich Statistiken, etwa bei dem Vergleich des EQR mit vorhandenen Bildungsbezugsrahmen oder bei einem etwas spielerischen Versuch, die Zuordnung nationaler Qualifikationen zum EQR mittels mathematischer Modellierung vorherzusagen. Der vierte und letzte Abschnitt umfasst Beitrge, in denen anhand einiger konkreter Bereiche Bau, Tourismus und Gesundheit die mgliche Zuordnung bestehender Qualifikationen zum NQR basierend auf den EQR-Deskriptoren in Pilotprojekten erprobt wurden. Referenzen: Jrg Markowitsch (Hg.): Der Nationale Qualifikationsrahmen in sterreich. Beitrge zur Entwicklung. Studies in Lifelong Learning, Bd. 3. 248 Seiten, 24,90 , br, ISBN 3-643-50022-9; Website:; Sprache:


Czech Republic: Development and Implementation of NQF
The development and implementation of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF 2) in the Czech Republic is to be carried out during the years 2009-2015. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports works together with the National Institute of Technical and Vocational Education on the project, which is co-financed by the European Social Fund and from the Czech Republic state budget. The project will be carried out during the years 2009-2015. The basis of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) evolved in the years 2005-2008. A register of statewide recognised qualifications, which are a prerequisite of acquiring the apprenticeship certificate, was established during this time. The National Qualifications Framework will describe all partial and complete qualifications which are in demand on the labour market. A standard will be prepared for each of them enabling anyone to prove individual skills, regardless of whether these were acquired at school, at work or in a training ourse. On this basis people will be given a chance to acquire a valid certificate, recognised by all employers without having to go back to school. This will be of particular help to people whose jobs are not related to their studies. This possibilty has been open since August 2007, by Act 179/2006 Coll. on Verifying and Recognising the Results of Continuing Education. The National Qualifications Framework mostly contains qualifications on trades and services. The main objective of NQF 2 is to include higher level qualifications. Again, standards will be used to define the content of each qualification and describe the ways in which mastery of skills can be proven. The structure and content of qualifications results from a consensus; the leading role is played by employer representatives in sectoral councils. The quality of the results is assured by the large number of specialists involved from all parts of the working world. A public register of all qualifications in the current labour market of the Czech Republic will be created, describing not only what each qualification requires but also how it can be acquired. Greater flexibility is expected to strengthen the publics interest in all forms of life long learning, while qualifications acquired in newly conceived and designed programmes will be transparent for employers a significant advantage in the current economic crisis.
Source: ReferNet

Ireland: a VET response to rising unemployment
Ireland has moved from having the second lowest unemployment rate among the EU-15 countries two years ago to the second highest. The rate of unemployment which stood at 4.5% in 2007 is expected to reach 13.2% this year, rising to 17% in 2010. The downturn in the economy which commenced in the construction sector has now spread to other sectors principally manufacturing, hospitality and transport and affects persons not previously exposed to unemployment. Although unemployment is more common among persons with low and mid-level qualifications, a proportion of persons with third-level qualifications are also experiencing unemployment. In addition, the number of people entering apprenticeships in 2008 was 44% lower than in 2007. The sharp rise in unemployment means that there are no labour shortages in Ireland at present and few skill shortages except in areas of specific expertise identified in two recent FAS reports 1. FAS, the Training and Employment Authority has had to review its training courses to respond to the growth in unemployment and the changing profile of unemployed people. Programmes have been opened up to all unemployed persons whatever their previous educational experience. This includes an extensive portfolio of training programmes in the environmental and energy technology. The Governments response to the employment crisis has been set out in a supplementary budget 3 containing measures to provide additional training in a wide range of programmes of differing duration. The measures include: Work experience scheme: A Work Placement Programme offers unemployed people, including unemployed graduates, the opportunity to obtain 6 months work experience on a work placement with a company while at the same time retaining their social welfare status and entitlements. Pilot training scheme for workers on short time: The pilot training scheme for companies that have placed staff on a 3-day week provides 2-days training a week and income support to upskill employees for a period of up to 52 weeks. Start your own business: These courses are being offered to redundant workers including

construction professionals, managers and craftspersons. Even before the downturn, Ireland ranked fourth across OECD countries and second in Europe for the number of early stage entrepreneurs, with 8.2% of adults in Ireland engaged in entrepreneurial activity in 2007. Employment Subsidy Scheme4: The Government recently announced a 250 million jobs subsidy scheme aimed at protecting vulnerable jobs. It will provide a subsidy of 9,100 per employee over 15 months to qualifying exporting companies in the manufacturing and internationally traded services. Online courses: There has also been increased provision of FAS on-line courses which are available free of charge to those on unemployment benefit. They comprise online and online blended courses whereby learners can combine home study with structured training in the form of scheduled workshops which will reinforce and supplement the online training. - In terms of apprenticeship, the focus has been on enabling redundant apprentices to complete and gain a qualification. Funds have also been provided to place redundant final-phase apprentices with employers in Germany. Special programmes have also been developed to improve the general education of apprentice students who want to progress to other higher education programmes or become self-employed when they finish their apprenticeships. Current VET policies recognise the major role that second chance and further education has in tackling the current unemployment problems. There are now more places on offer in the Post-Leaving Certificate vocational education sector. In higher education, more part-time places are being provided for the unemployed at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Participants in these courses retain their social welfare benefits.

Behan, J. et al: National skills bulletin 2009. Dublin: FAS, 2009. Fox, R: Job opportunities in the down-turn. Dublin: FAS, 2009.

National Economic and Social Council: Irelands five-part crisis: an integrated national response. Dublin: NESC, 2009.

Department of Finance: Supplementary Budget - Annex F. April 2009 F Supporting Those Who Lose Their Jobs.pdf

Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment: Employment Subsidy Scheme press release

Latvia: European career guidance specialists meet in Riga
Two separate events held in Riga between 16 and 18 September 2009 attracted over one hundred career guidance specialists from across Europe. The 6th European Conference on e-Guidance, "Widening access to lifelong guidance was opened by the Minister for Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia MsTatjana Koke and Ms Dita Traidas, director of State Education Development Agency (LV). The conference was immediately followed by the 5th meeting of Member States representatives for the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network,which is supported by the European Commission. Conference agenda:

Cyprus: Turning to training to reduce effects of crisis
In view of the intensified world economic recession and with the aim of minimising its effects on the labour market in Cyprus, the Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus (HRDA), in close partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance (MLSI), has launched in December 2009 a special Prevention-Action Plan, comprising the following measures: In-company / On-the-job training programmes: The measure helps companies to retain their employees instead of laying them off by utilising their idle time for training. The promotion of these

programmes has been focused on the sectors most affected by the economic recession such as Hotel and Catering and Construction. HRDA helps employers to design and implement training programmes that meet their specialized needs and subsidises their eligible costs, including the wages of the participants for the duration of the training. Upgrading training programmes for the unemployed: The measure aims to help people to return to productive employment by providing them with the skills required by the labour market. HRDA, in partnership with the Public Employment Service, the Cyprus Productivity Centre and the Higher Hotel Institute, organised upgrading training programmes for unemployed persons of duration 30 to 90 hours. The programmes provide training on: Information Technology Skills, Languages, Health and Safety issues and a variety of technical skills such as Maintenance of Hotel Electromechanical Equipment, Specialised Welding and Specialised Cuisine. The programmes are offered free of charge and participants are entitled to a training allowance of 8 per hour. Accelerated initial training programmes: The measure provides to newcomers and other unemployed persons theoretical and practical training in occupations, which are currently in demand. During 2009, training programmes of duration 16 to 24 weeks are implemented for the occupations of: Plumbers, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Technicians, Building Electricians, Aluminium Technicians and Cooks. The programmes are offered free of charge to persons who want to embark on a career in such occupations and participants receive training allowances from the HRDA. Job placement and training of unemployed tertiary education graduates: The measure provides incentives to enterprises to provide employment, practical training and work experience to graduates. HRDA provides subsidies to employers for the delivery of on-the-job training to young graduates (6 or 12 months duration). The in-house training of graduates is enhanced by their participation in other training courses, aiming at specialising and expanding their knowledge. These measures were supported by a targeted national promotional campaign utilising all mass communication media and through conducting informative meetings in all districts. Additionally, the HRDA visited numerous individual employers to explain how they could benefit from the measures and how they can link training to the achievement of vocational qualifications. The results so far are acknowledged by the social partners as satisfactory. Further information: Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus,

Estonia: training voucher scheme for micro companies
In August Enterprise Estonia started receiving applications for training vouchers designed for micro and small companies. The training voucher is the grant for specific purposes for the purchase of the professional in-service training, the objective of which is to improve the competitiveness of the micro and small companies through better access to the training service. With the training voucher, micro and small companies can purchase the training service from the state training institutions and companies enlisted as eligible service providers. The maximum amount of the grant is 15 000 kroons per final recipient within one year. The training voucher is financed by the European Social Fund. Source: ReferNet

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Senior Expert - Research Reporting (Area Research & Policy Analysis)
CEDEFOP/2009/3/AD - (AD8)

Corrigendum: Extension of deadline and change of dates for tests and interviews

Cedefop invites applications for drawing up of a list of suitable candidates for the position of a:

Senior Expert - Research Reporting (Area Research and Policy Analysis) Permanent Post / Temporary Agent, AD8, M/F Applications must be sent by registered post no later than: 23 October 2009 at 23:59 Central European Time (date of post registration).

Expert in the Field of Adult Learning (Area Enhanced Cooperation in VET and LLL)


Cedefop invites applications for the drawing up of a list of suitable candidates for the position of an:

"Expert in the Field of Adult Learning (Area Enhanced Cooperation in VET and LLL)" Temporary Post, AD 6, M/F. Applications must be sent by registered post no later than: 23 October 2009 at 23:59 Central European Time (date of post registration).


Developing and piloting an employer survey on skill needs in Europe
AO/RPA/AZU-TODUN/Pilot-European-Employer-Survey/015/09 Cedefop will offer a single framework contract to the selected service provider/consortium to develop and pilot an employer survey to identify skill needs in all sectors of the economy in Europe and carry out related analyses. Such an employer survey will in the future provide Cedefop and other stakeholders with a source of qualitative and quantitative information on current and potential future skill needs in organizations of different sizes covering the whole economy (including non-marketed services) in each of the EU Member States. The activities envisaged in the course of the framework contract will mainly contribute to Cedefop research on early identification of skill needs and skill mismatch (see description in 2. Technical specifications). This call has been published in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Communities 2009/S 156226976 of 15.08.2009. Deadline for submitting tenders: 05.10.2009 (17h00 local time for hand-delivered tenders). Requests for clarification concerning this call for tender, if any, should be requested by 24/09/09. Requests and answers will be published under this banner. Please visit Cedefop's website frequently for updates. If you are downloading these documents from our website, kindly send us an e-mail (

notifying us. Important note: In accordance with point 4 of the invitation letter, section 3 of the tender specifications and Annex F, the tenderer is requested to include mandatory documents. The non-inclusion of these documents will lead to the rejection of the tender.

The role of loans in financing vocational education and training in Europe

The aim of this open tender is to commission a study for analysing the use of loans to finance and promote vocational education and training in selected EU Member States and to gain a clear understanding of the role of loans in financing and promoting vocational education and training in Europe. The study should explain operation of loans, evaluate their implementation and provide policy and practice recommendations. This call has been published in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Communities ref.: 2009/ S 176253035 of 12/09/2009.
Deadline for submitting tenders: 23.10.2009 (17h00 local time for hand-delivered tenders). Tender Opening Session: 06/11/2009 (11h00 local time) Requests for clarification concerning this call for tender, if any, will be published under this banner. Please visit Cedefop's website frequently for updates. If you are downloading the Tender Documents from our website, kindly send us an e-mail ( notifying us.

From credit systems to permeability in education and training
AO/ECVL/ILEMO/Credits&Permeability/017/09 The aim of this invitation to tender is to commission a study addressing permeability and progression in education and training in the context of lifelong learning policies and strategies at European and national level. The study aims at identifying and analysing the mechanisms, forms and rationales for permeability and progression with a specific focus on credit systems in use in Vocational Education and Training and Higher Education. The study will elaborate a set of conclusions to inform European and national policy and research. This call has been published in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Communities 2009/S 176253033 of 12.09.2009. Deadline of submitting tenders: 23.10.2009 (17h00 for hand-delivered tenders). Requests for clarification concerning this call for tender, if any, will be published under this banner. Please visit Cedefop's website frequently for updates. If you are downloading these documents from our website, kindly send us an e-mail ( notifying us.


Macro-economic benefits of Vocational Education and Training
AO/RPA/GUTCH-PDE/VET-Macroeconomic-benefits/010/09 Cedefop will offer a two-year service contract to the selected service provider/consortium to carry out a research project on the macroeconomic benefits of vocational education and training (VET). The objective of the contract is to investigate the macroeconomic benefits of investing in initial and continuing VET in EU countries. Based on macroeconometric analysis, the research shall outline the comparative benefits of VET and general education, and the comparative benefits of different types of VET. Short-, medium- and long term benefits shall be analysed. Based on the findings, the research shall make recommendations for future VET policies and the coordination between VET and general education. The research project envisaged in the course of the service contract will contribute to Cedefop research

programme on the economic and social benefits to VET (see description in 2. Technical specifications). This call has been published in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Communities 2009/S 156226977 of 15.08.2009. Deadline for submitting tenders: 05.10.2009 (17h00 local time for hand-delivered tenders). Requests for clarification concerning this call for tender, if any, should be requested by 24/09/09. Requests and answers will be published under this banner. Please visit Cedefop's website frequently for updates. If you are downloading these documents from our website, kindly send us an e-mail ( notifying us.


Tax incentives for education and training
Dates:22/09/2009 - 22/09/2009 Co-Organiser Venue: Brussels, Centre Borschette CCAB, Rue Froissart 36 Country: Belgium Cedefop involvement:

Cedefop and the European Commission's Directorates-General for Education and Culture and Taxation and Customs Union organised a one day conference on tax incentives for education and training, held on 22 September in Brussels (Centre Borschette CCAB, Rue Froissart 36). The conference provides new perspectives on how tax incentives are being used by governments to promote education and training. Specifically, the workshop disseminates results of Cedefop's study , 'The use of tax incentives to support education and training in six selected Member States' (Germany, France, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands and Finland); highlights good practice in the tax treatment of education and training; discusses research results on the impact tax systems have on education and training decisions and on different ways to encourage lifelong learning.

Qualifications for lifelong learning and employability
Dates:05/10/2009 - 06/10/2009 Venue: Thessaloniki Country: Greece Cedefop involvement: Organiser

The conference, Qualifications for lifelong learning and employability, is to take place in Thessaloniki on 05-06 October 2009. The event will provide the opportunity to present and discuss Cedefops research results from the view point of European and national education and training policy, research, the labour market and the individuals. The conference will bring together government experts, social partners, academia and other stakeholders from all over Europe to discuss the overall implications of the changes in the role and functions of qualifications to support policy development and cooperation in education and training at national and European level.

Sharing the costs of training in the newer EU Member States
Dates:15/10/2009 - 16/10/2009 Venue: Thessaloniki Country: Greece Cedefop involvement: Organiser

The conference will announce the results of Cedefops study Sharing the costs of vocational education and training. An analysis of schemes in the newer EU Members States. The research findings will form the basis of discussions among policy-makers, social partners, researchers and practitioners on current patterns and trends in financing training in the countries concerned and on challenges and possible solutions. The conference participants will: identify cost-sharing approaches in the 12 newest EU Member States and examine how effective, efficient and equitable they are; ascertain whether the current crisis has affected the operation or effectiveness of cost-sharing approaches;

consider possible ways of improving existing cost-sharing arrangements and remedy any negative trends arising from the crisis; set priorities for policy and research

Meeting of Directors-General for Vocational Training
Dates:10/10/2009 - 13/10/2009 Venue: Västerås Country: Sweden Cedefop involvement: Participant

The Meeting of Directors-General for Vocational Training is an informal meeting held during every EU Presidency. Senior officials from the Member States and from applicant and observer countries are invited to the meeting, together with representatives of the European Commission, the European social partners, the European Training Foundation (ETF) and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop). The purpose is to provide the opportunity for exchange of experience and to discuss current issues relating to vocational training in the EU context. The Presidency and the Commission are jointly responsible for planning the meeting and its content. The theme of the meeting in Vsters is Vocational education and training labour market quality assurance. The Swedish part of the meeting will include presentations of the following: The National Agency for Vocational Higher Education Vocational education and training in the upcoming reform of upper secondary education An example of a Swedish companys workplace learning activities

Meeting of Directors-General for Higher Education
Dates:06/10/2009 - 07/10/2009 Venue: Kalmar Country: Sweden Cedefop involvement:

High quality higher education is of great importance for Europes development as a knowledge region and for stronger European competitiveness against other regions in the world. Within the framework of the modernisation process that the European universities are undergoing, it is important to consider the quality aspects of higher education, the parameters to be taken into account and methods of quality assurance used. The meeting of Directors-General for Higher Education will address issues concerning how the quality of higher education can be assured in a world of increasingly independent higher education institutions.

Council of the EU - Education Committee
Dates:21/09/2009 - 21/09/2009 Venue: Brussels Country: Belgium Cedefop involvement:

The Education Committee is the Council working group that prepares the items for decision by EU Education ministers. Its work encompasses all levels of education and training, from preschool to higher education and adult education and training. Some of the issues for consideration during the Swedish Presidency are professional development for teachers, integration of immigrants in the education and training systems and the interaction between education, research and innovation in the 'knowledge triangle'.

Active Citizenship and Adult Education
Dates:29/09/2009 - 30/09/2009 Venue: Göteborg Country: Sweden Cedefop involvement:

The aim of this meeting between non-formal education organizations and policy makers from all corners of Europe will inspire more active citizenship and the development of advocacy work in Europe.

Conference on New Skills for New Jobs
Dates:22/10/2009 - 23/10/2009 Venue: Göteborg Country: Sweden Cedefop involvement: Participant

Within the framework of the Swedish EU Presidency, Arbetsfrmedlingen, the Swedish Public Employment Service, will organise a Presidency Conference on the theme New Skills For New Jobs.It will be a two day conference, taking place

in Gothenburg on October 22-23. The conference will explore and discuss the challenges facing the European labour market as regards mismatch imbalances between demand and supply with special attention to the importance of an analysis based on skills rather than occupational classification. The target group for the conference is strategic management of European PES and/or national government ministries. Invitees include three participants from each country. The total number of participants is estimated at 140 persons Ms. Alena Zukersteinova, Cedefop's Project Manager will participate in the section "What will the European Labour Market look like and demand within the coming years, and which is the capacity of PES to capture it?". In this session the starting point will be a presentation of Cedefops forecast of skills needs, and the situation concerning supply and demand in Europe.

Informal Meeting of Education Ministers
Dates:23/09/2009 - 24/09/2009 Venue: Göteborg Country: Sweden Cedefop involvement:

The most important issue for education policy is: how can we create the best conditions to enable our pupils to achieve the best possible results? It is often emphasised that teachers are the most important factor in successful schools. Most people agree that the skills of the teachers are vital for the results pupils achieve in school. At European level, the important role of teachers and school leaders has been highlighted in various connections and at the informal meeting of education ministers in October the Swedish Presidency will further highlight this issue.

International Conference DECOWE: Development of Competencies in the World of Work and Education
Dates:23/09/2009 - 26/09/2009 Venue: Ljubljana Country: Slovenia Cedefop involvement: Participant

The conference entitled "Development of Competencies in the World of Work and Education" (DECOWE), will be held between 24-26 September 2009 at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. The following topics related to the identification, recognition, development and utilization of competences will be covered: Transition from education to labour market and early career; Innovative teaching and learning modes and curricula development; Competence development in work organisations and in relation to HRM and knowledge management; Frameworks and classifications of knowledge and qualifications, competence recognition including permeability between VET and HE; Skill measurement surveys and projects. The main emphasis will be on key note presentations of the European Commission, OECD, REFLEX and HEGESCO projects, however also other participants researchers, HE administration and management staff, employers, policy makers and trade union staff. Cedefop will be represented by Ms. Isabelle Le Mouillour on the issue of permeability between VET and Higher Education, and Mr. Jasper Van Loo on the issue of skill mismatch.

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